Amy – South Korea


June 5th, 2024

Hello from Seoul!

It’s the middle of my two-week study abroad trip, and I’m excited to share what it’s been like so far. I’m staying in Myeong-dong, a lively and bustling neighborhood that really shows off both modern and traditional parts of Seoul.
Myeong-dong is full of energy. The streets are packed with bright signs, shops, and street food stalls. The smells are amazing—spicy rice cakes, sweet pancakes, and Korean fried chicken fill the air. There’s music and street performers, making it a fun and exciting place to be.

A typical day starts with a Korean-style breakfast at our hotel (Koreans tend to have soup for breakfast!). Then, it’s off to our adventures of the day. Each day, we explore—sometimes visiting the Namsan Seoul Tower for beautiful city views or going to the Namdaemun Market to see traditional Korean goods.

Evenings in Myeong-dong are great for socializing. There are many places to meet people, like local shops and street food stalls. It’s a perfect way to relax and chat with new friends.

One of the most memorable experiences of my time in Seoul has been watching musicals in Korean. I had the chance to see Dear Evan Hansen and Benjamin Button, both performed in the local language. Even though I didn’t understand every word, the powerful performances and emotive storytelling transcended the language barrier. The actors’ passion and the beautiful music made it easy to follow the plots and connect with the characters. These shows offered a unique glimpse into Korean theater culture, blending familiar Western narratives with local artistic expression, and made my stay even more enriching.

For anyone thinking about studying abroad, my advice is to stay open-minded and curious. Talk to locals, try new foods, and don’t be afraid of cultural differences. One thing that helped me was joining local activities like cooking classes and tea ceremonies. These have given me a better understanding of the community and helped me make meaningful connections.

Seoul, especially Myeong-dong, has been more amazing than I expected. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip holds!


May 30, 2024

I’ve just started my two-week study abroad trip in Seoul, and I already have some favorite things.

First, the food is amazing. Street food stalls offer delicious snacks like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and hotteok (sweet pancakes), and traditional restaurants serve tasty dishes like bibimbap and bulgogi (a specific cut of beef). Even the convenience stores have great, affordable meals.

The nightlife is another highlight. Hongdae and Itaewon are lively areas with music, clubs, and a mix of people. The blend of old and new in Seoul is fascinating, with ancient palaces like Gyeongbokgung next to modern skyscrapers. The subway system is also fantastic—clean, efficient, and easy to use, making it simple to explore the city.

Interacting with locals has been a pleasant experience. One thing that surprised me is how polite and helpful people are. Even with the language barrier, many Koreans are willing to assist if you look lost or need directions. Their kindness makes me feel welcome. A similarity I didn’t expect is the love for technology. Like many places, people here are very connected, with smartphones playing a big role in daily life. However, the technology here is even more advanced, with mobile payments, fast internet, and high-tech public amenities everywhere.

When I arrived in Seoul, I did feel some culture shock. The language barrier has been tough at times, but many younger and middle-aged people here speak at least some English, so out group has been able to manage pretty well. Social norms, like respect for age and dining etiquette, also took some getting used to.

I knew Seoul was a busy city with a rich culture, but the size and energy still amazed me. The city is always bustling, which is both exciting and a bit overwhelming. Looking back, I wish I had researched more about cultural customs and social etiquette. Knowing more about bowing and using honorifics would have helped. Also, more language study would have made communication easier.

So far, my study abroad experience in Seoul has been eye-opening. The mix of tradition and modernity, the friendly people, and the endless things to see and do make it a really interesting place to visit.


May 20, 2024

 

Hi everyone! My name is Amy and I’m getting ready for an amazing study abroad trip to Seoul.

This isn’t just any trip; it’s a special program focused on theater, performance, and learning about Korean culture. It’s a perfect fit for what I love and what I want to do in the future. As a Theater Arts Education major with a minor in Stage Management, I’m very excited to see many performances from Korean culture and perspective.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the famous performances at places like the Namsan Arts Center and the National Theater of Korea. I can’t wait to join workshops with local artists and learn traditional Korean performance techniques. This is a fantastic chance to learn new things and grow as an educator.

Seoul is an exciting city where old traditions meet modern life. I’m excited to explore its busy markets, peaceful temples, and creative art spaces. Visiting places like Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village will help me understand more about Korea’s history and culture, which will be great for my theater studies.

I have a few goals for this trip. I want to learn a lot about Korean culture and its art, which I believe will help me learn new perspectives and be able to teach them to my future students. I also hope to make long-lasting bonds with my other friends going on the trip.

Living in a different country even for just 2 weeks will be a big adventure. I expect to face some challenges, like language barriers and cultural differences, but I’m sure these will help me become more adaptable and open-minded.

As the departure date gets closer, I feel both nervous and excited. I know this trip will change me in many ways, making me a better person and educator. Seoul is waiting, and I’m ready to enjoy every part of this incredible journey.